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Gothic Sculpture


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Slide lecture on Gothic sculpture

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Gothic Sculpture

  1. 1. Gothic Sculpture Art 108: Ancient to Medieval Westchester Community College Fall 2013 Dr. Melissa Hall
  2. 2. While the interior of the Gothic Cathedral was increasingly dematerialized with the heavenly light of god . . .
  3. 3. The Stone Bible The exterior was covered with hundreds of carved sculpture Jean Fouquest, The Building of a Cathedral, 1465 Image source:
  4. 4. Chartres Cathedral is an excellent place to study the evolution of Gothic sculpture West façade: 1134 - Early Gothic Nave and transepts: after 1194 - High Gothic
  5. 5. The west portal dates from 1134 -- the Early Gothic period
  6. 6. The north and south portals date from the High Gothic period
  7. 7. Gothic Humanism Gothic sculpture evolved towards greater naturalism, similar to the evolution of Geek sculpture
  8. 8. Gothic Humanism This trend towards “naturalism” was a direct result of the rediscovery of classical learning at Chartres University Plato, Seneca, and Aristotle, from Devotional and Philosophical Writings, c. 1330 Image source:
  9. 9. Gothic Humanism Aristotle taught that scientific “observation” was a path to knowledge of the world The increasing “naturalism” of Gothic sculpture can be attributed to his influence
  10. 10. Gothic Humanism Geometry is also feature of Chartres Cathedral, reflecting the belief that the universe is literally “designed” by god God as Architect of the World. Gothic Art. 1,200 CE
  11. 11. Building the Great Cathedrals – Science + Religion
  12. 12. Chartres Cathedral, west façade, 1134
  13. 13. The west portal is called the Royal Portal because of its connections to the French monarchy
  14. 14. The jamb statues depict the kings and queens of the old testament
  15. 15. Like the kings on the North Rose window, they proclaim the royal ancestry of Christ
  16. 16. Yup, my family is descended from the Old Testament kings And they legitimize the French monarchy, who claimed to be descended from the Old Testament kings and queens
  17. 17. The figures are called “jamb statues” because they decorate the door jambs of the entrance
  18. 18. They are long and slender, like the columns they are attached to
  19. 19. Unrealistic proportions Weightless No body beneath the drapery
  20. 20. But they have a But quality lifelikethe faces have a lifelike quality not seen since not seen since Greek and Greek and Roman Roman times times
  21. 21. They resemble Greek Archaic statues -- and reflect a reawakening interest in representing the human form naturally
  22. 22. Gothic Humanism Some even have expressions resembling the Archaic smile
  23. 23. Gothic Humanism Some even have expressions resembling the Archaic smile
  24. 24. The central tympanum depicts the familiar theme of the Theophany
  25. 25. Humanism Naturalism = scientific observation Humanism = acceptance of human knowledge of the world
  26. 26. The Romanesque tympanum emphasized damnation and the terrors of hell
  27. 27. The Gothic portal emphasizes Christ’s humanity and the promise of salvation
  28. 28. North portal entrance
  29. 29. Jamb figures are even more animated and lifelike
  30. 30. The sculptures on the South portal were completed last
  31. 31. Gothic S-curve St. Theodore is standing in the gothic S-curve pose
  32. 32. Gothic S-curve He is dressed in the costume of a medieval knight
  33. 33. Gothic Humanism Jesus, Mary, the Apostles and the saints take on natural human characteristics
  34. 34. Gothic Humanism Emphasis on Christ’s humanity, rather than his divinity
  35. 35. Central Tympanum, Chartres Cathedral, South Portal, trumeau Emphasis on forgiveness and salvation, rather than damnation